`Valencia' Orange Fruit Yield with Ambient Oxidant or Sulfur Dioxide Exposures

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Statewide Air Pollution Research Center, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521

Three-year-old `Valencia' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck] trees were exposed to air pollutants for 4. years in open-top field chambers to determine the chronic effects of ambient oxidants (primarily ozone) or sulfur dioxide (SO2) on fruit yield and quality and tree growth. Ozone concentrations averaged 0.012,0.040, and 0.075 ppm for 0800 to 2000 hr during April to October for filtered, half-ambient, and full ambient oxidant chambers. Sulfur dioxide was applied continuously at 0.09 ppm. Oxidant and SO2 effects were only marginally significant, as there was considerable variability in response among individual trees and between years. Across two “on” production years, yields were 31% lower with ambient oxidants, 11% lower with half-ambient oxidants, and 29% lower with sulfur dioxide compared to filtered air. Number of fruit per tree was reduced by ambient oxidants and SO2. Individual fruit weights were reduced by ambient oxidants, but no other fruit quality characteristics showed definite responses to ambient oxidants or SO2. Ambient oxidants had no effect on yield or quality of fruit during one “off' production year. Neither ambient oxidants nor SO, affected tree growth.

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